Enhancing our team
Welcome aboard to Lauren Dyson (Paramedic), Steve Westbrook (Paramedic), Ollie Zorab (Paramedic) and Owen Hammett (Nurse) who all joined our team in December. All four of our new practitioners are Trainee Critical Care Clinicians and started their Masters level University course in January. They each have a Critical Care Paramedic and Critical Care Doctor mentor to enable a range of support for the University course. A further welcome goes to our new Doctors Nick Foster, James Keegan and Sean Santos. All have passed their HEMS technical crew member training and have significantly strengthened our clinical capability. You can view all of the new members of our team on our Clinical Team page.
In February, we began steadily increasing our operating hours over the weekend period (Friday and Saturday evenings) with the use of our Critical Care Care (CCC) until 02.00am. Having a fully functional CCC is an essential part of our operations as there may be times when it is unsuitable to fly during the night. All the operational equipment we carry on our aircraft is also carried on the car. Our thanks go to Neil Bizzell, Claire Baker, Leonie German, Mark Williams Steve Westbrook, and Owen Hammett, who have been instrumental in enabling the car to become fully operational. From April, we aim to make this provision available seven days a week.
Neil Bizzell continues to lead a vibrant outreach programme aimed at educating and empowering our emergency service colleagues to mobilise critical care for patients in need. Claire Baker, Ian Mew and Steve Westbrook have supported thus activity by creating literature which explains our clinical capabilities.
Emily Cooper Joined us in December as our Education Facilitator. Emily is an Adult Intensive Care Consultant and has a wide experience of training multi-professionals using simulated patients, animal tissue, human tissue and prosthetics.
During December, many of the team took part in Emergency Resuscitative Surgery training in Southampton, which taught them the skills to perform life-saving operations before the patient reaches hospital. More recently we have spent time running simulations and the new AW169 aircraft prior to it becoming operational. Over the coming months, our training sessions are packed full. We have sessions lined up with the Coastguard, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, as well as a session focusing on resilience within the team.
Since we began carrying and administering blood, 23 patients have been given the possibility of life. Enhancing our capability with carriage of blood products was a significant project for our team and our thanks go to Ian Mew, Michelle Walker and Leonie German for making blood product delivery a sustainable reality. Our continued thanks go to the Henry Surtees Foundation, the Devon Freewheelers, Dorset County Hospital and SWASfT for their support.
Clinical training facility
The new clinical training facility at our airbase has been well used for the team's training days, governance meetings, outreach training for student paramedics, doctors and nurses and is being used daily for skills training by the on-duty crew. Ken Wenman, Chief Executive Officer of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASfT), officially opened our new clinical training facility on 26 October 2016. The full facility includes a modern clinical training facility, a day/night aviation planning room, improved clinical storage and crew rest facilities. The whole project reflects the Charity's drive for clinical excellence and effectiveness and is designed to further build on the success of our award-winning education programme.
Funding for the project was provided last year by the Association of Air Ambulances Charity (AAAC) after £5 million was allocated from the Banking Fines Fund (LIBOR) by then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in support of UK's air ambulances. After the Charity secured funding for this project, work began and took approximately eight weeks to complete. At the opening, Bill Sivewright, DSAA Chief Executive Officer, paid thanks to those who had helped to make the project a reality.
"We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to so many people. To our landlords Geoff Jarvis and Losan Ltd for giving us the opportunity to further enhance the hangar that they so generously provide to the Charity.
"To Babcock International, who, as well as supporting our flying operations, brought their wider industry expertise to bear and manage the build project.
"To the AAAC for helping to secure and distribute the funds and to SWASfT for their enduring support to the Charity's operations, especially during a significant period of change.
"Finally, to the air ambulance crew who have lived through a great deal of disruption with patience and flexibility and have done so without any drop in the life-saving service provided to the people of Dorset and Somerset."